When the Braves signed closer Billy Wagner and setup man Takashi Saito earlier this week they had no inclination that either of their type-A free agent closers would accept their offer of arbitration, but it appears that Rafael Soriano is at least thinking about it:
But Soriano's agent Peter Greenberg told ESPN.com that his client is still thinking about the possibility of accepting the offer before Monday's 11:59 p.m. ET deadline.
"It's going to go down to the wire," Greenberg told the website. "It's definitely going to be a last-minute decision for us."[...]
"We know there's a lot of interest in Rafael, but we still don't have a sense yet whether [salary] arbitration or going on the free market is in his best interests," Greenberg told ESPN.com.
Soriano would probably make around $8 million in arbitration. If he accepts, I say fine. Yes, we would lose two draft picks, but it may enable us to pick up a more major league-ready piece by trading Soriano (or Saito, if we choose). A closer or setup man of his caliber would likely be worth a good bat in return, perhaps in some circles he may be easier to trade than Derek Lowe, and may net a similar return.
I don't see Soriano accepting arbitration as a bad thing, as I think it gives Atlanta more options. Of course it means they have to trade a couple of people, but Soriano, at least, is a very tradeable commodity. Odd are, though, Soriano does not accept arbitration and becomes a free agent.